Din Tai Fung Dumpling House is famous for it’s steamed dumplings worldwide. Din Tai Fung was originally started in Taiwan selling oil by a husband and wife. It was only later that Din Tai Fung started selling steamed dumplings and started becoming famous through word of mouth. Although there are many Din Tai Fung locations in Taiwan, let alone the rest of the world, I went with my girlfriend to the Zhongxiao Restaurant location in the Da-an District of Taipei. Originally, we went to a different location around noon, but there was a line of about 40 people so we decided to try another time. The second time we went around 5PM and there was only about 10 people waiting, so we decided to queue up. Once seated, we were given a paper to order what we want. It was pretty much a list of their items and a blank box next it where you would put the amount that you want. Of course since we were at Din Tai Fung, we ordered steamed dumplings. I’ll be honest, Din Tai Fung is expensive. We ended up only ordering one batch of steamed dumplings. Call me cheap, but I’ve had good steamed dumplings at much lower prices before. I’m not saying Din Tai Fung isn’t good, it was actually delicious and the steam dumplings were soft and juicy. However, it’s way too overpriced. Anyways, if you ever get the chance to try Din Tai Fung, don’t forget to order some steamed dumplings.
Okay, I’ll be honest. I kind of forgot to post my milk tea in Taiwan pictures that I took when I was in Taiwan, let alone write the article about it. But hey, better late than never, right?
Milk Tea in Taiwan
So milk tea in Taiwan. If you want to have the best milk tea, it’d be common sense to go get it from where it originated from, right? During my two week trip to Taipei, Taiwan, I’ve visited at least 8 different specialized milk tea shops. These milk tea shops only served milk tea products. Milk tea is popular in Taiwan, so it’s served almost everywhere. You’ll find restaurants and dessert places serving milk tea because it’s so popular there.
One key aspect I noticed is that all specialized milk tea shops had no seating. The shops were small and only had what was necessary to make milk tea drinks. On slow days, one person is enough to manage the shop. However, if it’s one of those busy milk tea shops that are located in a place with a lot of people like a mall, then there would be at least 4-5 people working that shift.
There’s always one person at the cashier. He/she takes the order, enters it into the computer (which prints out a label of the order details), and reports to someone else who makes the drink. When ordering, you’re asked how much ice and sugar you want (more information shown below). I usually order my milk tea as 少冰少糖 or less ice, less sugar. Sizes of the drinks are usually medium and large size. You can also choose to have your drink hot, which is great for cold days.
Ordering Milk Tea
Regular Ice: (正常冰)
Less Ice: (少冰)
No Ice: (去冰)
Full Sugar: 100% (全糖)
Less Sugar: 70%~80% (少糖)
Half sugar: 50% (半糖)
Some sugar: 20%~30% (微糖)
No Sugar: 0% (無糖)
After your drink is made, they usually put it in a small to-go plastic bag with its straw. I usually tell them I don’t need the bag as I just drink it as I’m walking. I assume they put them in bags because there’s no where to sit and drink.
Depending on the shop, the design of the cup will either be clear or colored. I personally like it clear so I can see through the cup and suck up the bubbles. Some shops don’t have clear cups but rather have it completely colored. I think it’s for marketing purposes as it’s easier to see the logo due to the background being solid, but I could be completely wrong.
Something to keep in mind is that not all drinks come with pearls or bubbles. In fact, I think only the “pearl milk tea” drink comes with pearls. Hear me out on this. Unlike other places like Hawaii, all the drinks come with pearls regardless if it’s chocolate flavor, green tea flavor, or whatever. However, in Taiwan, only the drink called “pearl milk tea” comes with pearls. I’m not sure if you have to request it or what not, but not all milk tea in Taiwan come with pearls. Other than serving milk tea, there are also teas, lattes, and juices. Some of the juices came with jelly.
Example Milk Tea Menu
Here’s an example menu from one of the milk tea shops I visited, but unfortunately it’s in traditional Chinese.
Milk Tea Shops
Yup, you read it. Shrimp Fishing. These 24 hour shrimp fishing shops can be found all over Taipei. There’s usually an indoor synthetic pond and an oven to cook the shrimp in the back. Although the water didn’t look very clean, I still wanted to try it at least once. These places mostly consists of middle-aged men who are pros at shrimp fishing. They’re fully equipped with their own floaters, sinkers, baits, scissors, etc. Although you’re not required to bring any equipment, I do recommend you bringing a glove or scissors to get the shrimp off your hook as they do have claws. I would like to say that shrimp fishing is not as easy as it looks. In fact, putting the bait on the hook was a challenge. The bait that the shopkeeper gave us was dried shrimp that were really tiny!
I went with my girlfriend and we decided to share one pole for an hour. Be sure to keep track of your time or you’ll be charged for another hour. One hour costs 300NT, two hours cost 500NT, and three hours cost 700NT. Sure it’s cheaper if you fish longer, but trust me, one hour is enough for first-timers. If you’re lucky, the shopkeeper might give you free shrimp. But that’s only if you don’t catch that much. So in other words, regardless if you catch some shrimp yourself, you’ll still get to eat shrimp in the end. Remember, that’s if your lucky. So get a pole, grab a beer, and sit back and relax.
When your time is almost up. Grab your shrimp and belongs and bring it to the front counter. The shopkeeper will help you bring it to back and cook it. He’ll season the shrimp start the oven for you, but will go back to the front counter after. So that means you’ll have to flip the shrimp yourself and decide when it’s cooked. Be sure to turn off the oven when you’re done. Lastly, head over to a table and enjoy.
Beitou is in the northern part of Taipei and when I heard that there were hot springs, I just couldn’t resist. After exiting the station and on our way to the hot springs, our first stop was the museum. Not much to do other than museum stuff here. You can read about the history of hot springs and the connection that there is between it and Japan.
Next stop, hot springs. Unfortunately, picture taking is not allowed inside so all I can give you is the front sign. As for the hot springs, all I can say is that I’ve seen better. Maybe I’ve been spoiled with Japan’s clean and high quality hot springs. Maybe I judge too much and can never be happy. Or maybe I’m right. I’ll let you be the judge of it. Anywhere, there was a cold area, and a hot area. The hot area consisted of 3 levels starting from the top which was the hottest, so it was on an elevated slope. It had a disgusting kind of feel to it because 1. the water from the 3rd level pool would be recycled and flow down to the 2nd level, and so on to the 1st level. That means if you can’t handle the heat and have to go to level 1, you’re bathing in the recycled water from the top. 2. I would say about 60-70% of the people there were elderly. I don’t have anything against old people, but me and my girlfriend were one of the few young people there and you know how perverted old men are. They tend to harass you with their eyes (my girlfriend, who knows, maybe the old ladies were looking at me too). Also, because this place is is mostly attended by frequent locals, they feel like they own the place. I was decided to stand up for a bit because I wanted to cool down, but all of a sudden, an old man tells me to either get out or sit back down. I guess it was because I was wasting the spot I was in by standing up. Maybe we went at a bad time or maybe I’m right. You can find out yourself by checking this place out.
We stayed at Nine Plus Spa Hot Spring for the night. The room was great. It was nice a big. We did have to hike a little to reach it, but it wasn’t too bad. In our bathroom, there was also a nice bathtub to relax it. Although it looks slightly different from the picture, we enjoyed it. One thing I did not like was the lighting. When we were going to sleep, there was no way to turn the lights off completely. The only way was to remove the card from the slot.
The Beitou Thermal Valley closed at 4:30 PM, so we didn’t have time to check it out the day we arrived. Instead, we went the next morning. For your information, the Beitou Thermal Valley is just for sight-seeing. You can’t go in the water as the water will boil you to death. It was a cool place to go though due to the sulfur smell and steam from the water.
After the historical visit, we used our google maps and made our way to Taipei 101. Taipei 101 is a skyscraper and consists of 101 floors. It’s elevator is said to be the fastest in the world. At the bottom of the skyscraper is a shopping mall.
Here’s a close-up picture of the top.
Taipei 101, Xinyi District
Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Two main Taipei tourist attractions near each other are Taipei 101 and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Both attractions are only about a 10-15 minute walk away from each other. First we got off at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Station and visited the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese revolutionary, first president and founding father of the Republic of China.
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
No. 202, Zhulin Rd, Xinyi District
Taipei City, Taiwan 110